Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Richard Dawkins and A.N. Wilson

Further to the post on Saturday about Richard Dawkins' scorning of Peter Kay's simple faith, it appears that the biologist was entrapped, to a certain extent, as this letter of clarification attests. Dawkins was fed an anonymous quote and asked to comment on it, which is, shall we say, not really cricket. However, as Dawkins admits that he is regularly sought out for such rent-a-quotes, you would think that he might have asked to whom the original comment was to be attributed, as many more careful people would do. Though I find Dawkins' evangilism counter-productive and tiring I have a certain degree of sympathy for him as the story first originated in an article in the Daily Mail, by the insufferable A.N. Wilson, an Anglican High Church Militant, probably the most zealous Protestant in Britain. A good few years ago, at the Booker Prize ceremony that John McGahern attended for his nomination for Amongst Women, Wilson ungraciously accused McGahern in front of a number of guests, of supporting the IRA in the novel, an accusation that any literate person that read it would view as absolute tosh. McGahern, a man who was possessed of more dignity than many men better than Wilson, simply nodded and gave an indulgent smile. I suppose he figured you had to suffer fools like Wilson at ceremonies such as those.